Friday, December 10, 2010

IS TOURIGA NACIONAL PORTUGALS' NATIONAL GRAPE? by Philip S. Kampe

LUIZ ALBERTO and I are in PORTO, PORTUGAL attending a WINE CONFERENCE, sponsored by VINIPORTUGAL and the WINES OF PORTUGAL.

We are hear to TASTE, DISCUSS and DEBATE the virtues of TOURIGA NACIONAL.

Last evening, the hosts sponsored a dinner for 150 guests ( Luiz and I included) that featured over 30 different wines made from the TOURIGA NACIONAL grape. My VOTE is easily 100% in favor of Portugal focusing and marketing the grape into the World of Wine Drinkers.

TOURIGA NACIONAL is considered by many as Portugal's finest grape. Despite it's low yields, this rather small grape plays a big part in the blends used for PORTS and is used as a table wine in DOURO and DAO. The grape provides structure and body to wine, with high tannins and concentrated flavors of black fruit. In the Douro region, the grape grows in searing heat in steep schisty vineyards that are more rock than soil. The grape needs severe pruning to keep it under control. The vine produces blue-black grapes which vary in size from small to tiny. The yields are among the lowest of any commercially produced grape. In recent years, scientists have been working on cloning the grape to produce wines that are able to POLLINATE better with the goal of increasing yields by 15% and sugar content by 10%. The tin y berries of TOURIGA NACIONAL have a high skin pulp which heightens the amount of extract in the wines. The grapes can produce intnse, very aromatic wines with high tannin content.

With only 10,000 acres of vines, TOURIGA NACIONAL plays a key role in DOURO'S Wine and PORT Production.

PHILIP S. KAMPE
MARIA REVELEY KAMPE

philip.kampe@thewinehub.com
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